The Minstrel and the Lady

Disclaimer: I do not own the character's from Glee.

AN: So I have some crazy ideas for this fic, it's kinda like a little outflow for my surplus imagination :D Also, we will be meeting more of the glee cast soon, but I'm not going to tell you who or when so it can be a surprise :P

Anyway...

Ruby.


Chapter 2: Trapped

Quinn was unbelievably glad that the minute she made her appearance in the dining hall, the hosts and guests alike were distracted by the simultaneous entrance of the evening's entertainment.

She herself was also distracted, surprised to see such a motley collection of people, who looked nothing like the over practised jesters and painfully dull poets she was used to peripherally accepting as an aid to digestion.

There were four of them, another surprise being that one was most definitely female, and furthermore she was of a remarkably small stature, one man supporting himself with crutches, another towering over his three companions, carrying some sort of large drum.

She took her place at the end of the head table as she took in the appearance of the final member of the group.

The first thing that struck her about him was his boyish grin flashed to the nervous faces of the others in encouragement.

Just observing him made the corners of her mouth twitch.

There was something so captivating about that grin, and the way it sparkled in his eyes, even from afar, and the untamed curly hair, and the way that scruffy stubble on him seemed anything but distasteful as she would have normally felt about such decoration on a man.

She swore she blushed beet red as his eyes fleeting met hers as he scanned the audience, who had now fallen to hushed mutterings after the initial excitement of the arrival of Duke Carlos.

She cursed her fluttering heart and blamed spending time listening to the hopeless babblings of the manor's staff for her ridiculous musings on a man she had never met and would only see tonight.

Not that she really minded the chatter of the maids.

Far from it, in fact, she chose their company over the company of the numerous snooty cousins or other young ladies of the appropriate status to be deemed suitable to socialise with her.

Young ladies that would rather talk about dresses and sewing and falsely compliment each other's hair.

Besides, she learned a lot from the maids; things that would make her mother blush to hear her repeating; things that weren't anything like the Latin and embroidery she was 'allowed' to learn about.

And she would consider them her friends, not the frilly, silly girls whom her father called her friends.

No. Her real friends were the ones who wouldn't dream of telling her mother that she had been sitting on the heavy oak dining table as Mercy swept the floor in the great hall, laughing and chatting without a care in the world.

Her mother would have forty fits if she would have known.

But she wouldn't find out.

The handsome stranger cleared his throat.

"Lord Russell, Lady Judith, Duke Carlos, and family and friends. I proudly present to you… the Leigh-Mere minstrels".

The clapping reception was polite, and Quinn had to check herself from not clapping too over-enthusiastically, despite the alien urge she had to catch the curly-haired stranger's attention.

She was increasingly glad for her position at the table, facing towards the performers as they readied themselves to sing.

And she was amazed at how such a powerful sound could be emitted from such a small woman, but at the sound of his warm and velvety voice she was carried to a place where she didn't have to be who she was expected to be, the gates of freedom and happiness ever closer to her desperately reaching hands.

The rich food sat like lead in her stomach.

She played with her fork absent-mindedly and tried to silently signal to Emma, but her maid's attention was fully claimed by the handsome guest she was so diligently waiting on, and she managed a watery smile at the way the red-head lingered by his side, and when she wasn't, instead sending subtle glances from afar.

The music taunted her with the life she couldn't lead, and with every beautiful harmony, the heavy fabric of her dress grew heavier and itchier, the laughs and dull chatter of the people she was trapped with become more and more shrill and annoying.

She spied Mercy making her way to the bathrooms to show a couple of guests there whereabouts, and with a last longing look in the direction of the gorgeous singer and a life of adventure and spontaneity she had no hope of experiencing, she slipped from her seat and quickly joined the small group.

"Just in there ladies", Mercy gestured, with a graceful curtsey and a smile that changed to delight at seeing her friend.

"Are you feeling alright Quinn?" she asked, concerned, as it was not proper for her to have left the table and abandon her duties as the daughter of the host.

"Yes- but you must understand that I'm not".

Mercy raised an eyebrow half-heartedly, knowing that this was to be another of Quinn's extravagant plans to alter the monotony of conforming to the rules.

"What is it I need to say if asked?" She questioned, with a lop-sided grin.

"That I was taken ill suddenly, and have gone to lie in a darkened room and must not be disturbed until I make them aware that I am recovered".

"Lying in a darkened room?" Mercy said, with a unsubtle hint of sarcasm.

"Yes", Quinn confirmed shortly.

Mercy had known her long enough to catch the fleeting sadness across her expression, and her insides twisted with sympathy.

Here was a girl that had everything and yet nothing.

She was so stunningly beautiful, her beauty known for miles around, and many an eligible bachelor had been invited to the manor, Duke Carlos being perhaps the third prospective suitor of the month, whether or not Quinn was aware of this.

And maybe a person of a less fiery personality would be content with being married to a well-connected minor nobleman, along with an enviable dowry.

But she knew that Quinn would never be happy to live this way, as somebody's possession. She was independent, and ambitious, and demanded an outlet for her bright energy.

"Okay", she agreed easily. "Be careful… make sure you aren't caught".

Quinn hugged her briefly, and thank goodness the ladies were still in the bathroom because this interaction between classes would most definitely have given them heart attacks.

"I'm always careful", she smiled, and gathered up the dress and ran off down the empty corridor away from the oppressive hum of the Great Hall.


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